Last night I was watching the replay of the Colorado Rockies beating the Washington Nationals. I was asked if they won by the bartender and that caused me to use my phone to look up the answer. In the box score on my phone I noticed that Roenicke was the winning pitcher and Bentancourt got the save. The game on TV was still in the 5th inning and Washington wouldn’t score another run. So, the question is this: If the game wasn’t in jeopardy, why is someone awarded a save?
I understand the rules of awarding a save, but I think the rule allows for more credit than the closing pitcher deserves in most circumstances. Just because a game is close doesn’t mean that the pitcher in the 9th inning deserves anymore credit than the pitcher in the 8th. The Rockies used 3 relief pitchers yesterday. None of them gave up a run, yet only one of them was awarded a save. Granted, Roenicke did get the win, but if the Rockies didn’t have the new pitch count issue it probably would have gone to the starter, Francis. Betancourt started the 9th inning with a 2 run lead just like Belisle did in the 8th. Why is Betancourts outing deemed more important than Belisles?
A save should be just that, a game saving performance. It can happen in any inning in which a relief pitcher enters the game in order to stop an opposing teams offensive run. This means that any pitcher that starts an inning isn’t eligible for a save. You are not eligible for a save unless there are men on base or at least 1 run was scored in the inning. If you enter the game with a 2 run lead and go through the line up without allowing a run then you simple did your job of closing the game out. Saves should be used for situations actually saved the team a win.
I don’t know why the “save” has become as important as it has in baseball. It is a phony stat that was created for no good reason. It doesn’t give an accurate depiction of what the closer actually did in the game and it denies other relief pitchers a fare share of the credit for what they did during the game. The rule should be changed or removed, neither of which will happen. Let’s use saves for guys that actually eliminate the threat of a loss.